I am trying to find some information on the problems that adult
children of divorce have in relationships. I had a very brief relationship
with a man who was from a divorced family. He is very insecure. We are
still friends and I would like to be able to help him by at least providing a
book or other materials for him to read. I watched a very impressive
documentary on PBS a few weeks ago on Children of Divorce and really began to
understand how terribly hurt these children were and now they are having
severe relationship problems. Is there any reading material available to
help ADULT children of divorce? Thanks so much for any help you can offer.
When you read about children of divorce, for the most part the
researchers are talking about the effects of divorce on young children, not
upon adults. There is some research on the effects of divorce on
adolescents. However, I do not know of any research that has compared a
large sample of adults on the single criterion of divorce versus no divorce.
There are too many variables to be considered. Furthermore, in some
families the level of dysfunction is so high that divorce may be preferable,
e.g., families were there is verbal or physical abuse. By the time we reach
adulthood, there are so many variables that can lead to psychological
difficulties, that it is difficult to attribute these difficulties to divorce
In the situation you have described, the insecurity may have had more to do
with the quality of your friend's interpersonal experiences than whether or
not his parents divorced. Research has demonstrated that it is not divorce
that creates difficulties for children, but rather it is the degree of
acrimony around the divorce. In other words, parental conflict, irrespective
of divorce, is detrimental to the well being of children whether in a
divorced family or not. The experience of early conflict itself often can
lead to interpersonal difficulties in adulthood.
Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist,
Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing
psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years.
He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation,
couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and
assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing
Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.